Will artificial intelligence take over doctor one day?
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Recently, Siemens Healthineers, the healthcare division of Siemens, invested $200 million in a manufacturing facility in Bengaluru to integrate R&D and manufacturing. The company says it will put together state-of-the-art CT scan machines and C-arm radiology systems for emerging markets such as India, and provide employment locally. While there are business gains certainly, the company is headed towards having Artificial Intelligence (AI) as one of the primary technology pillars in their products. As a market leader, it aims to be realistic in its approach to incorporate AI in its products. It says AI will pan out in phases, with hybrid devices coming to the market first.

As of now, there are certain use cases where AI is involved and these are mostly in the backend. According to Peter Seitz, executive vice president – surgery, Siemens Healthineers, there are a few stages before the technology could get predictive. “Today the technology is at the level of visualisation. For instance, we can do a real-time temperature mapping with an MRI in ablation procedures. We can use this to eliminate the perfusion of a tumor. In the long term, it’s about the warning. For instance, an algorithm which monitors the anatomy can automatically segment various parts of the body and warn us that we would end up operating the wrong part if we continue what we are doing,” he says.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s about incorporating AI into every procedure of a surgery/ treatment. Currently, in cardiology, AI is used to predict the intensity of scar tissues that are induced during ablation procedures for treating atrial fibrillation/ arrhythmia. This requires a well-trained AI system which can take into account the various aspects of the anatomy and severity of the arrthymia in real-time.
The idea of AI seeping into every procedure raises the question of machine autonomy and whether a surgeon’s competency would be compromised. “If one of our machines today were to perform a procedure autonomously, we won’t be able to get this product cleared as a medical device. Today, the responsibility for the outcome of a procedure rests with doctors,” says Seitz.

Seitz believes that there will be devices which will increasingly assist doctors in making decisions and if there were to be a tipping point where machines could perform such procedures, then the responsibility would fall on to the machine’s manufacturers. “I don’t see this yet. Today, the best surgeon out there is the one who has the most experience and is agile with his hands,” asserts Seitz. However, he thinks that the procedures could be mechanised and their control could rest with surgeons. “One thing we could see coming in early is, surgeons may no longer manually do all the procedures but can make robots do them. AI and robotics can precisely enable this,” he adds.

This changes the dynamics of employment in a medical ecosystem. A comparatively young, digital native person who can control machines precisely and has the domain knowledge may take the place of the most experienced surgeon at some point.

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/technology/will-artificial-intelligence-take-over-from-the-doctor-one-day/1734448/
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